Cowart’s mother influences his life, recruitment

Byron Cowart likes to carry around a Chucky doll, a trend started by former Florida defensive linemen Dominique Easley and Dante Fowler Jr. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

ORLANDO — Spend a couple minutes talking to five-star defensive end Byron Cowart or listening to him conduct an interview, and one can’t help but notice the maturity and motivation he possesses.

His drive is to be the nation’s best football player — in high school now, in college next and one day in the NFL. All of this is not just a personal goal, but something he feels obligated to do.

“My drive comes from my mom, just coming from a single parent household,” said Cowart, who earned MVP honors in Saturday’s Under Armour All-America Game after recording four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.

“My mom is a fighter. She works and makes it happen. Her goal was, ‘Hey, let’s move to Florida. I know you can excel in football so we’re doing it.’ ”

Cowart attended elementary school in Snellville, Ga., moved to Lakeland for sixth and seventh grade and went back to Georgia to finish junior high.

His mother then made the decision to move to Tampa so her only child could play football at Seffner Armwood, where he competed in three state championship games in his high school career and became an elite recruit.

“She loves that I’m making her proud and I keep working,” Cowart said. “I sacrifice a lot. I don’t really go out to parties. She knows I want to take care of her, but she’s happy for me. She was determined for me not to be like my father, who’s been in prison for almost all my life.”

Cowart’s mother also has a major role in his recruitment. He’s down to Auburn (Jan. 16), Florida (Jan. 23) and Florida State (Jan. 30) and will officially visit each school this month before making his decision on signing day (Feb. 4).

Cowart said his mother would prefer that he stay close to home, but Jim McElwain and the new coaching staff at UF — the school long considered his favorite — needs to make her feel comfortable.

“I have to take that Florida official for my mom,” Cowart said. “She wants to get a feel for coach Mac and see, ‘Who is this guy?’ That’s the biggest thing. And she wants to meet coach (Geoff) Collins.

“She was so tied in with coach (Brad) Lawing, and then she was really hurt when coach (Will) Muschamp got fired, but everything worked out. She likes Auburn, too. But the biggest thing for Florida is for her to be able to talk to coach Mac and coach Collins. It’s really important.”

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  1. GREAT STORY!!! COACH MAC only needs to show MOM that UF has always had GREAT DEFENSIVE teams and its not because of one coach or one player. Its because of many coaches (knowledge), players(ability), schemes that makes “GREAT PLAYERS AND TEAMS”. This kid could contribute greatly to both, being a great player and helping to make a GREAT TEAM!! TEAM and ORGANIZATION are the big words. Once she knows they will take care of him while he is in school, she will be ok. She has already raised a great kid as we can see, so I don’t think we have to worry about him in that department. GO GATORS!!!

  2. What’s new? I guess it’s fine since there’s no actual good news to report on the recruiting front, like someone actually saying yes to UF. It’s a cliche that you have to win Mama over, it is a requirement in nearly every recruitment. The best in college football recruiting are those that can convince Mama, it’s been that way forever, so this article sheds zero insight in that area. I do think Cowart is a complete mystery now. Coming from a high school that is a Gator factory should have meant that he was already pledged to UF. But UF’s mediocre performance on the field and the lack of any relationship to any of the coaches makes it a crap shoot now. I now think FSU has the edge since they will get the final visit and will also have all the best players from this year’s class. The best want to play with the best, and they are going to Tallahassee this year. FSU’s early enrollees alone is awesome. I think a good sign for UF is if Cowart cancels his visit to FSU after visiting UF, if not, I think he’s FSU bound.

  3. Aux2-your mindframe is a bit warped. To think that he wouldn’t come to UF now is insane. Fowler’s gone & that position has his name written all over it. Bring in Cece and add Jeff Holland to team with VH3 & Jon Bullard and the D is set. Future looks to be bright for the gators. GO GATORS!!

  4. aux2 that’s a lot of fsu love from a gator fan. I know you call yourself being realistic, but come on dude it was not that long ago when fsu was struggling to win 8 games in a weak conference, and look at them know with a coaching change. If Coach Mac works out the gators will be right back where they have been for most of the past 30yrs a perianal top 5 program.

  5. He’s not coming…..we are not getting any 5 stars this year. Face facts eveyone! No kid wants to play for a school that has no chance of being competitive the whole time they are here. Nothing but 2 and 3 star players this year. Sorry guys

  6. baton rouge gator fan I’m warped? Aren’t you the guy who told us that George Campbell was going to flip from FSU and go to UF? He’s now enrolled at FSU, along with, according to Rivals, three five stars and three other four stars like himself. That’s just the early enrollees. The point is that UF, so far, has not received a pledge from even one high profile recruit and high profile players like Cowart like joining other high profile players. I keep hearing about how UF is a lock to get players like Cowart, Ivey, Jefferson, etc. Yet none of them have said yes yet. Campbell was also on the list of locks for UF. The point is that it is not trending well for UF and if Cowart makes FSU his last visit, I don’t think UF gets him.

  7. Leak, maybe a student rep at uf. Didnt like him as a receivers coach at all. Glad to hear Bullard is returning, and Jones Hump, and Moore had better rethink leaving early. I dont see any high or mid round pick for either. One more year would really increase their stock value. We do need some good receivers. GO GATORS////////

  8. I hope I am wrong, but hate to say it but things are going to get worse before they get better. The coaching staff may be very good indeed, but for the most part they aren’t household names. This years recruits are more then likely going to go someplace else since this staff is too new to commit to. Coach Mac is going to have to win with Muschamps guys to prove to recruits that he knows what he is doing.

  9. The big guns (Cowart/Jefferson/Ivey) will be future Gators I think. I never touted myself as someone that can see into or predict the future aux2; just going off of gut feelings. As for Campbell-ehh. Good luck to him. I keep seeing that alot of guys are looking to go to free shoes u. It sounds like they’re doing what bammer was doing some yrs ago by signing all of these guys. Seems as though they shouldn’t have enough schollys left. GO GATORS!!

  10. Aux2 – you are too funny. The coach had 1 week to meet as many recruits as possible before the dead period. Most recruits will not have met their position coach. Do you think it is possible they would want more time to meet with the coaches before making such an important decision.

    As far as making predictions, you were the one predicting FSU would beat Oregon.

  11. I was hoping that coach Mac would keep Lawing as the DL coach – both Cowart and Jefferson had said that they had strong relationships with him and the Gator DL always produced. Now, Jefferson has named Ole Miss as his leader.

  12. After reading this article even more impressed with this young man. Now make no bones I want him to come to Gainesville, but I have no doubt that he will make the decision for HIM. It’s not about us the fans it’s about his life.
    Good luck Mr. Cowart you will do right no matter who you select.

  13. Reading this story and hearing Cowart in live interviews leads me to believe he is a very grounded and bright guy who would certainly appreciate the Florida Academic reputation and quality of the degree he will be earning from UF as opposed to the other institutions he is considering. The football program and getting players to the LEAGUE speaks for itself!

  14. I always see Martez at school walking around with either a Gator or Alabama shirt, im guessing hes going to go to Florida because we have talked a couple times and he sounds really happy about floridas coaching staff. I hope we also get both Cowart and CeCe but thats kinda unrealistic, i bet we get Cowart. Hes such a beast!

  15. There is cause for optimism for Holland, Jefferson, Cowart and Ivey. If they wanted to go elsewhere they would have done that by now. I say they are waiting to see and talk to the new coaching staff and go from there. I predict with get at least two of Cowart, Jefferson, Holland and Ivey, Add Ryan Davis and one to two flips and we can consider this a great success.

  16. Can’t imagine that anyone with this type of character would even consider Jimbo Fisher and FSU. And Auburn hasn’t exactly been a pillaof integrity over the years, with all the pay for play scandals.

  17. Lake Mary Gator,
    Do we really need to beat up on kids integrity if they choose a school that is a rival?? There are people of good and bad integrity at EVERY college in the country. These are colleges were talking about, not churches. Please let us stay classy and not play the HOLIER THAN THOUGH COLLEGE routine!!!

  18. Oh give it a rest Ralph. Yes, players who have been coddled most of their lives because of their talent get into trouble in every major football program. But there are huge differences in how schools handle problems when they occur. In this regard, the difference between FSU and UF is night and day. Just look at how the Treon Harris sexual assault allegations were handled by Florida, compared with how FSU handled Winston’s various messes. Let me ask you, do you think Gerald Willis would be off the team today at FSU? And as for Auburn, they may be doing better now that Colonial Bank has failed and Bobby Louder’s stranglehold on the program may be lessening, but Auburn belongs in the same breath as University of Miami and SMU when it comes to institutional lack of control. (Oh, and as for us hiring Randy Shannon, watch the ESPN 30 for 30 Part II episode on “The U”. Shannon was the ONLY guy in the program–or in the UM administration, for that matter–who didn’t want any part of Nevin Shapiro.)

  19. I really hope Cowart realizes that no matter how well he likes a particular coach he better like the university and community he chooses. A coach that you’re buddies with can be gone the day after you sign your scholarship. The university and community you sign with you will be a part of for at least 3 years of your life.